What is the B-1 Business Visa?

The B1 Visa or “Visitor for Business” Visa is intended for Business travelers who come to the United States for business activities of temporary nature and related activities that do not require actual labor work. The B-1 is a non-immigrant Visa and is obtained at the U.S. Consulate of the Country where the foreign national resides.

While in the United States as Business visitor, an individual may:

  • Attend business meetings;
  • Negotiate business and real estate contracts;
  • Participate in academic conferences;
  • Discuss planned investment or purchases;
  • Solicit sales;
  • Make investments or purchases;
  • Control the operations of a Company in which the foreign national has invested;
  • Receive temporary training from a U.S. Company;
  • Settle an estate;
  • Interview and hire staff;
  • Conduct research.

It is generally not allowed to work with a B-1 Visa, although there are very limited exceptions to this rule, such as the B-1 in lieu of the H-1B. Running a business and

gainful employment require a working visa application. If you are caught working on the B1 Visa, you may be placed in deportation proceedings and you will need to retain a defense lawyer.

Those entering with a B1 visa will generally be granted 6 months admission by the immigration officer at the U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP). The maximum allowable period is one year and the CBP officer has absolute discretion to decide the length of the stay (1 to 12 months). If you are denied entry to the United States, you can file an immigration appeal. It may be possible to obtain a six-month extension to the visit visa as long as the candidate will be maintaining his or her visitor status. The B1 Visa can be issued for a single entry or for multiple entries.

If you are in the United States in another valid nonimmigrant status, you may be eligible to change to B-1 status, filing a Form I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status).  If you are from a Visa Waiver Program country, the denial of the B-1 Visa will automatically revoke an already approved travel authorization, and might prevent you from getting one.

Spouse and children are not eligible to obtain a dependent visa. If they were to accompany you, they would have to apply for a B-2 tourist visa.